Kevin Schwantz, the former 500cc world champion, has told race fans that the new Circuit of the Americas venue in Austin, Texas will be different to 'everything else that is out there right now'.
Schwantz has worked alongside Tavo Hellmund on the project to create the new circuit and played a key part in the announcement last week that MotoGP will join F1 in competing at the venue – which is due to be completed in mid-2012 ahead of the first Formula 1 event.
Speaking to Crash.net
about the signing of a ten-year MotoGP deal, Schwantz was asked about circuit design and said that the people behind the venture were keen to make sure it wasn't too similar to other venues designed by Hermann Tilke.
“Tilke has designed quite a few of the fairly new F1 tracks, and what Tavo and I both didn't want to happen was for this to be just like everything else that is out there right now,” he said. We wanted this track to have some things in it from some of the favourite tracks we used to race on. Tavo raced in British F3 so he knows a bunch of those tracks and of course my knowledge of race tracks. We wanted it to be challenging. We wanted it to be technically a track that you have got to be on top of your game at and riding really, really well to get around.
“It's not just a straight line and then a simple 90-degree corner, then another straight line and another simple corner. We put sections of track that really lock themselves together, so you have to be really good and technically correct. There are also some fairly high-speed corners, high-speed exits and of course a long back straightaway with real hard braking at the end.”
Schwantz also gave more of an insight into how work is progressing at the circuit, with initial ground clearing having started back in December.
“The scheduled completion date is June of 2012,” he said. “I had dinner with some of the guys from Tilke the other night and they think they are right on schedule. If you go out on site most of the land has been cleared now.
“You still can't quite get a feel for the design of the track yet - there is no sketched layout or stakes in place - but you can stand at the top of the hill at the first turn see the landmark in the distance, which is the far end of the track. The left turn that leads onto the back straightaway.
“You can really see how long this track is now [3.4 miles] and you can also get an idea of what it'll be like for fans when they come to watch. There's going to be great spectator viewing.
“We're really trying to build that fan experience in. We're going to make some great hillside seating around turn one. That will allow you to see all the way over to Turn 11 on the back straightaway and also downtown Austin ten miles away.
“The track's also really close to the airport. There are a lot of things that make this track really convenient for the fans and the competitors. Everything about it is going to be a real home run for us.”